A house, a history, and a home (Pg 2/2)
The Lady Diana Spencer (later Diana, Princess of Wales)
planting a tree at the opening of
the Mountbatten Exhibition in May 1981
ABOVE: A short ITN news film showing the opening of
the Mountbatten Exhibition at Broadlands in May 1981
by Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales,
accompanied by The Lady Diana Spencer
(later Diana, Princess of Wales)
2 months before their wedding
BELOW: The opening of the Mountbatten Exhibition
at Broadlands (left to right) Norton & Penny
(then Lord & Lady Romsey,
now Earl & Countess Mountbatten of Burma);
The Lady Diana Spencer, later Diana Princess of Wales
& Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales
Broadlands became more famous than ever with distinguished visitors from royalty to politicians being regular guests with eminent guests being asked to plant a tree in the grounds. Mountbatten's sense of legacy became increasingly important to him during his lifetime and following Edwina's death, Mountbatten wanted to ensure that Broadlands was financially secure for his descendants.
Since 1978, Broadlands has been open to the public - which was a project that Mountbatten himself was heavily involved in. However, following Mountbatten's murder in August 1979, Broadlands became the home of Mountbatten's grandson - Norton, now 3rd Earl Mountbatten of Burma (b.1947), who following his mother succeeding to Mountbatten's titles in 1979 became styled 'Lord Romsey' and he and his young family set to develop his legacy. The exciting 'Mountbatten Exhibition' was opened on 9th May 1981 by Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (b.1948) who was accompanied by his then fiancé - The Lady Diana Spencer, later Diana, Princess of Wales (1961-1997) and was a focal part of any tour of Broadlands. The exhibition had displays of medals, uniforms and mementos of the extra-ordinary lives of both Mountbatten and Edwina.
Norton & Penny (then Lord & Lady Romsey,
now Earl & Countess Mountbatten of Burma)
at the Mountbatten Exhibition
(then Lord &
at the time of their engagement
(then Lord &
with their children
in the gardens
in 1990 -
(left to right)
- their eldest son
Nicholas (now Lord Brabourne):
treatment for cancer);
and their eldest
(now The Lady
The Earl & Countess Mountbatten of Burma separated in 2010 and the Broadlands estate is now run entirely by Norton’s wife - Penny, Countess Mountbatten of Burma (b.1953). It was reported that Norton returned to live at Broadlands in April 2017, and not involved in the running of the estate. The estate is not entailed (ie. is not automatically inherited by the holder of the family title) and is has been rumoured that to secure the estate for future generations, it may be that the estate will be inherited by The Lady Alexandra Hooper (b.1982) - the eldest daughter of The Earl & Countess Mountbatten of Burma, rather that their eldest son Nicholas, Lord Brabourne (b.1981), due to his previous unstable 'Bohemian' lifestyle. However in 2021, as Nicholas (who is no longer estranged from his parents) married in a private civil ceremony at Broadlands - perhaps he is ready to 'settle down' and on the path to take on the responsibility of running the estate in the future - we will see!
Approximately 100 yards from the house in full view of the drawing room lies a tall stone monument on a plinth, it is the most recent monument on the estate and it marks the final resting place of Norton & Penny's youngest daughter - The Hon. Leonora Knatchbull, who died aged 5yrs from a rare kidney cancer (called Wilms Tumour) in 1991. It is often said by many friends of Penny that this is the reason why she will never leave the estate.
LEFT: A selection of
photographs of Broadlands today
The house itself at Broadlands is open to the public at certain times (please check their website for opening times) and throughout the year, numerous concerts and local events are held within the grounds of the Broadlands estate - including The Romsey Show, held every September with Penny being the Patron of the Show. The house remains one of the finest stately homes in the country. Over recent years, the house has undergone a great deal of restoration and improvements - which has included the installation of two eco-friendly wood chip biomass boilers, which was recommended by Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales (b.1948).
ABOVE & BELOW: aerial views of Broadlands today